Lesley Gore, "It's My Party" (1963)
Lesley Gore was a typical suburban teenager before her demo tape fell into Jones' hands. At the time, he was doing A&R and production for Mercury Records, where he had been hired as the first black vice president of a major New York record label. Mostly he'd been working with jazzy singers such as Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, and Nina Simone – but in Gore, he saw the future. "She had a mellow, distinctive voice and sang in tune, which a lot of grownup rock 'n' roll singers couldn't do, so I signed her," he remembered in Q. The first fruit of that creative union, the upbeat, youthful hit single "It's My Party," turned Gore into an overnight star just as the Beatles were jumpstarting youth culture for a momentous new decade. "He heard my demos, Quincy called me up, made me an offer I couldn't refuse," the late Gore said in a live interview with Rolling Stone's Anthony DeCurtis in 2006. "You can't match a genius like Quincy Jones."